The New City Chapter of the Rotary Club has thanked three local volunteers for their “outstanding dedicated commitment and loyalty.”
At its weekly meeting on Monday at La Terrazza, the 70-member organization presented plaques to Vicki Joseph for her service to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Muriel Woolley for her sharing her gardening expertise with Jawonio and Jaspreet S. Bal for his assistance at the New City Library.
Gillian Ballard, Rotary community services director, and Jonathan Torma, Rotary chairman of the volunteer awards and recognition committee, spoke about the honors and introduced the sponsors and their nominees.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Community Program Director Jennifer Longo and Case Manager Sarah Arras joined honoree Vicki Joseph as she received her plaque. Longo described Joseph as a longtime volunteer with the organization who has mentored three children since 2003.
“She does a wonderful job. She does above and beyond,” said Longo, adding that Joseph helped staff a table at the recent Rockland County Youthfest and is spearheading a fundraising program. Upon receiving the award, Joseph said, “ I am honored.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers and children. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters live in single-parent and low-income families, or households where a parent is incarcerated.
Jill Warner, Jawonio’s executive director, recalled that in 1995 the nonprofit asked the Cornell Cooperative Extension to send volunteers for their new senior program. Muriel Woolley responded with her gardening expertise. “She was instrumental in building a wheelchair garden,” said Warner. “She brings the wonderful gift of flowers and herbs to those who can’t get out.”
Woolley thanked Warner and her colleague, Frank Dickinson. She said horticulture therapy helps clients to remember things. “Sometimes there is a breakthrough and the smell of a flower or herb is a small connection to their past.”
Jawonio is a community resource for children and adults with disabilities and special needs.
New City Library Director Chuck McMorran and Supervisor of Audio Visual Services Sheryl Sforza introduced Jaspreet Bal. Sforza praised the young man for his assistance in the audio/visual services department. “He is down to earth and has positive interaction with customers.”
Bal said, “I had a great time at the library and will miss it. I’m going off to college in the fall.”
Rotary President Stephen Botto reminded members about their commitment to participate in the Great American Cleanup to pick up litter and debris around the Clarkstown Police Station on Saturday, April 23 at 9 a.m. Rotary is the largest international volunteer organization with an emphasis on community projects, including local scholarships — it's motto is Service Above Self. Many members are local business owners.